Unpacking Firearm Access and Firearm Violence Exposure Among American Indian or Alaskan Native and Black Adults

Mueller-Williams ACCoughlin LNGoldstick JE


Firearm violence poses a significant and increasing threat to well-being in the US. Per-capita firearm mortality rates increased by nearly 40% from 2014 to 2021, with especially large growth in the last 2 years of official data (2020-2021).1 Black and American Indian or Alaska Native US residents have seen the largest per-capita increases in firearm mortality during that time (2014-2021) among all races in the US,1 which is emblematic of distinct patterns of racial inequities in firearm death. At the same time, firearm injury epidemiology also differs substantially between American Indian or Alaska Native individuals and Black individuals. Among American Indian or Alaska Native individuals, roughly half of all firearm deaths are suicides, while homicides represented approximately 80% of firearm deaths among Black US residents in 2021.1 Research characterizing firearm access and firearm violence exposure among American Indian or Alaska Native and Black adults is sorely needed, but the implications for prevention likely differ between the 2 groups.

Keywords: firearm access, firearm exposure, firearm death, American Indian, Alaskan Native